Female Athlete of the Week: Motivated Ansbro leading Central to postseason success
WOODSTOCK – There’s been a tradition in Central’s softball program that the seniors sign their names into the dugout after they’ve finished their careers. Central senior Bekah Ansbro isn’t ready to do that just yet.
Ansbro has helped lead the Falcons into the Region 2A East semifinals and said she just wants to keep playing as long as she can.
“Every day I look up there and see all the seniors from past years, knowing that one of these days I’m going to have to sign that,” Ansbro said of the names on the dugout. “… Right now we’re just trying to have some fun and make it last as long as we can. We want to end on a high note, and especially for me for my high school career, I want to go as far as we can and really end with a really good note.”
Being a senior has served as extra motivation for the Central pitcher. Last week Ansbro tossed two three-hitters in the Conference 35 tournament to lead the team to two wins and the conference title. She didn’t allow a run in the wins over rivals Clarke County and Madison County.
Ansbro, who has signed to play softball at George Mason University next year, struck out a combined 19 with no walks in the two wins.
“She made adjustments when necessary. She came at them full throttle. She used all of her strengths,” Central coach Lisa Rhodes said. “She gave them her best Bekah, and she’s hard to handle when she shows up and gives it her best shot. She was on point last week.”
Her solid week helped Ansbro earn The Northern Virginia Daily’s Female Athlete of the Week for the week of May 23-29.
Ansbro was also successful at the plate. In a 4-0 win over Clarke County she reached base three times with a pair of walks and a hit by pitch. In the 1-0 victory over Madison County in the Conference 35 final, Ansbro had two hits.
“I think at the plate I’ve done a good job of trying to get on base a lot,” Ansbro said. “I think I’ve seen a lot of pitches. I think seeing a lot of pitches has helped me get a little deeper in the count and get walks or get pitches to hit. On the mound I think I’ve been doing a really good job of hitting my spots and spinning the ball well and just keeping the hitters off balance.”
Not only were the two victories big for the team in terms of advancing, but also because they were against teams that Central had already lost to. The Falcons entered last week as the No. 3 seed in the Conference 35 tournament. They had split their two meetings with Clarke County during the regular season. They also lost two close games to Madison County, 4-2 and 3-2.
Ansbro said it felt good to beat Madison County and win a championship trophy.
“We knew that we had the ability to beat them. So, finally going out there and doing it, especially on their turf, felt pretty good,” Ansbro said. “That second game when we played them in the regular season was tough. We had the win and we just had a few missteps. So we knew we had the ability to beat them, and going out there and executing felt pretty good.”
Ansbro is now 17-3 on the season in the pitching circle. She picked up her 17th win on Monday as the Falcons beat Stuarts Draft, 4-1, in the Region 2A East quarterfinals.
It was the first-ever regional win for Central, who will host Nottoway at 6 p.m. today.
“We had a lot of people in the stands supporting us and we all really appreciated it,” Ansbro said of Monday’s victory. “Even before the game I said to everyone, ‘Guys look at everybody that is here to see us.’ It was a great feeling, and it was nice to get a win in front of the whole community. Hopefully they’ll come back (tonight) and support us, and hopefully we’ll be able to play as well as we did (Monday).”
If the Falcons win today they advance to the state tournament for the first time in program history.
Ansbro said she still remembers a 10-inning loss the Falcons suffered two years ago in regionals to Brentsville, and she doesn’t want to feel that way again.
“The girls who were there for that – which the juniors were freshman at the time, so they still remember – just kind of remembering that moment, remembering how heartbreaking it was, not wanting to feel that again has kept us going really well,” Ansbro said. “We don’t want to leave each other. Dana (Painter) and I, the seniors, we don’t want to leave just as much as the rest of the girls don’t want us to leave. So we’re taking these last couple of weeks to spend a lot of time with each other on and off the field.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org